Monday, December 31, 2012

Cavalier Mountaineer

When we went to bed on Friday night, we had no idea what our plans were for Saturday. We figured we’d get up 2 hours before sun up (aka 7ish), work out, and then possibly get together with some other dog owners for a hike. However, we ended up sleeping until 9 AM, realizing that if we didn’t act fast, there was no way we’d be able to get a hike in before our 6 hours of daylight were over.

By 10 AM we were at our buddy Ryan’s house where we met up with he and his lab Angus and our friend Falene and her lab Kady. You may remember that Ryan is Jonathan's Defender-owning friend, so instead of taking one car, we obviously had to take both Defenders. We drove in our mini-Defender Caravan to Tap O' Noth Hill.
Without knowing where we were going, I made the snap decision to bring Samson along for the walk.
I figured since Ryan was choosing the hike, it couldn’t be too challengingJ. When April came to visit, she was admittedly not into hiking. She told me that she would only go on walks that passed the ‘Samson’ test. If Samson could make the trek, then so could she.
Well, next time she comes to Scotland, she’s going to be climbing some mountains, because when we pulled up in the parking lot to greet Tap O’ Noth “hill”, this is the site we were faced with:
As we laced up our boots to start the climb, Ryan commented that if Samson got tired, he’d carry him. Falene made the suggestion that if Sam couldn’t hack it we could always just zip him into our back pack. But all along I knew that my little man would make me proud. And sure enough, Samson did more than pull his own weight, he pulled mine as well.

Since his training isn’t quite at Bailey’s level yet, he was kept on his extendable leash during our ascent and that 15 pound dog was pulling me up the entire way. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly put one more foot in front of the other on the nearly vertical climb, he swooped in with all his might and tugged me up as if he were a speedboat and I was on water skis. He’s deceptively strong, which should be indicated by his manly name.  It was his first ‘big dog’ hike and he treated it like he had something to prove, shaking those haters off left and right. 
windy is an understatement
Despite the powerful gusts of wind that almost sent me tumbling off the cliffs, he made it up that ‘mountain’ with energy to spare and had a blast romping around the summit with the big dogs.
Our first family photo in Scotland. Can you tell how windy it was?
The view.
I couldn’t get him to sit still for a picture, but I feel like this shot captures some of his exuberance:
He made it back down the hill with minimal effort and everyone was pretty impressed with his stamina. The only problem with his new found endurance is that when I took him for his normal 1 mile walking route yesterday, he wasn’t satisfied. As soon as we turned towards home, he started tugging in the opposite direction on the lead, and when we got to our walkway he was downright defiant. The look on his face was asking, “Are you kidding me? You can’t take me mountain climbing and then expect me to be content with a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood gardens”.  Oh my sweet Sam, spoiled is not the word…
I have to put in a word for Bailey girl too, who also made me one proud momma on Saturday.
She stayed close by during the whole walk and came back every time we called her. Other than a few photo bombing incidents, she was nearly perfect.
I would have given her an A+ for performance if it weren’t for a stunt she pulled about 100 yards from the finish line. Why is it that perfectly well adjusted house dogs feel the need to roll around in sheep excrement? Disgusting. Oh well, it wasn’t like either one of them was escaping a bath when we got home anyway. It just would have been nice to not have sheep poop filling my nostrils for the hour car ride home.
more mud = more fun

 Here are a few more pictures from our hike:

That's all for today. I hope you had an amazing weekend and I'll see you next year!


  1. Wow! Your family photo looks SUPER windy. Go Sam!!!

  2. The hike looks beautiful, windy but beautiful! Thanks for including my boys in your Saturday outing, I know they had fun!